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Closing Thoughts

To wrap this all up, we need to look at the WRT310N as a wireless router, then as a home network security solution. Table 4 summarizes of key features of the Linksys draft 802.11n lineup, plus a comparison to the D-Link DIR-655.

  WRT160N WRT310N WRT610N DIR-655
Lowest Street Price $75 $81 $152 $92
Dual Band N N Y N
Gigabit N Y Y Y
USB Device Support N N Y Y
WAN-LAN (Mbps) 87.9 136.3 135.6 257.3
LAN-WAN (Mbps) 84.6 156.2 157.2 272.1
Total Thruput (Mbps) 92.8 147.8 143.1 254
Max Connections 96 160 200 200
Table 4:Key Feature Comparison

The most direct comparison is to the DIR-655, which beats the 310N on routing throughput and simultaneous connections. The 655 also has an edge with its ability to share USB devices and the fact that its gigabit switch supports jumbo frames. Both products are about equal, however, when it comes to wireless performance.

Comparing the WRT310N and the DIR-655 as security solutions, there is no clear winner either. Both use code running in the router to provide some of their features and can protect networked devices other than computers. Both also rely on software running on PCs to provide Anti-Virus protection.

But both also have web content filters that may leave you wondering why you bothered setting them up since they frequently err on the side of over and underprotection. It didn't take too much effort to find holes in HND's content filters.  HND's Young Teen level blocked porn websites, but didn't block porn images in a web search.  Further, HND's Kid level failed a simple adult keyword search.  But HND isn't alone in this problem, since Craig was easily able to find similar problems with SecureSpot's content filtering.

I know that any time I leave my children unsupervised in front of a screen, whether TV or the Internet, I run the risk of them being exposed to something I would rather they weren't.  Bottom line: HND didn't provide Internet supervision that I can trust, so it looks like my parental supervision duties are intact.

In the end, I like the WRT310N as a draft 11n router and recommend it. But despite the peace of mind implied by the Cisco and TrendMicro names on the product, I can't recommend Home Network Defender as a parental control solution.

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